United Learning consists of two charities which are responsible for the operation of the Group’s schools. United Church Schools Trust (UCST) governs the Independent Schools, and United Learning Trust (ULT) governs the Group's Academies. United Church Schools Foundation Limited (UCSF) is the ultimate parent company. It is also a charity and is the ultimate owner of the independent schools’ land and buildings. UCSF is not discussed further here.

The Group Board

All the Trustees of ULT and UCST sit together as a Group Board, to which the Trustees of both entities have delegated their powers and functions. The Group Board carries out an annual self-evaluation process to review its effectiveness and continue to improve its performance.

The Group Board has responsibility for:

  • Protecting the interests and assets of each charity and its schools;
  • Safeguarding the charitable objects;
  • Ensuring the maintenance of the United Learning ethos and values;
  • Group strategy, management and governance; and
  • Financial and educational performance.

The Group Board delegates management of the Group to the Chief Executive and the management team, who therefore carry out important governance and leadership roles in relation to the individual schools in the Group.  ULT and UCST have delegated decision-making powers to the Group Board, but continue to exist as separate charities and to meet as appropriate.

Local Governing Bodies

The Trustees have the ultimate legal responsibility for the governance of all United Learning schools. Each school also has its own Local Governing Body (LGB), to which clear roles and responsibilities have been delegated. The central purpose of the LGB is to provide support and challenge to the school on behalf of the Group Board, drawing on local knowledge of the school and its community.

The Group Board maintains links with the LGBs through the Company Secretary (as first point of contact on governance issues) and designated Trustees. Click here to see the full list of Trustees.

The Chairs of the LGBs of the academies and of the independent schools come together with relevant lead trustees on each side to form an Education Board, which meets three times in the academic year and provides advice on strategy and education, further enhancing communications between Local Governing Bodies and the Trustees.

Full details of which responsibilities are retained by the Group Board and which are delegated to the LGBs (as well as those delegated to the Executive/Central Office team and Headteachers) are set out in Appendix 4 to United Learning LGB Members Handbook.


Three committees advise on matters defined by their terms of reference: the Finance Committee; the Risk and Audit Committee; and the Nominations and Salaries Committee. The minutes of the Finance Committee and the Risk and Audit Committee are made available to the Group Board. The Chair of the Risk and Audit Committee reports to the Group Board twice a year.

The Finance Committee’s purpose is to:

  • ensure that the charitable company properly plans the use of its finances and is adequately funded to undertake projected expenditure;
  • review and recommend the annual budgets for approval by the board;
  • monitor financial performance against agreed budgets;
  • ensure, with the Risk and Audit Committee, that the charitable company's financial statements are supported accurately by management accounts; and
  • monitor and review the charitable company's arrangements in relation to investments and make recommendations to the board in relation to the appointment and removal of investment advisors.

The Chair of the Finance Committee is Sir Anthony Greener.

The Risk and Audit Committee’s purpose is to:

  • create and ensure implementation of a risk management framework for the Group and to oversee disaster recovery;
  • ensure the charitable company's annual financial statements are supported accurately by management accounts and other financial reports presented to them by all schools and academies;
  • ensure effective audit functions are in place (both external and internal);
  • ensure adequate risk management processes are in place; and
  • ensure an adequate internal control environment is established.

The Chair of the Risk and Audit Committee is Professor Colin Coulson-Thomas.

The Group Nominations and Salaries Committee’s purpose is to:

  • oversee the appointments of the Group Chairman, Trustees and Senior Executives;
  • decide senior salaries and remuneration in line with the Group Board policy guidelines;
  • reviews the terms of office, skills and attributes of Trustees of the Board;
  • identify any key skill gaps that should be addressed when recruiting Trustees;
  • recruit new Trustees and make recommendations of appointment to the Board; and
  • strive to ensure the Board composition is diverse particularly in terms of gender and ethnicity.

The Chair of the Nominations and salaries Committee is Mr Richard Greenhalgh.